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Let me start by saying 2013 thru 2015, brought in an abundance of spiritual growth with a rainbow of interesting sprinkles, on a personal and creative level.
The energies were guiding me in many different directions and places. One thing is for sure as we entered the month of December in 2013, transitions for me and Tru Essencia would continue to surface clearly and vastly.
I received a phone call from my Sis Soul-Star Deena in regards to a wonderful opportunity with an organization called The Next Level, based out of the University of North Carolina. Traveling to different countries as HIP HOP Ambassadors educating other countries on the Culture of Hip Hop representing the elements Dancing, MCing, DJing, and Beatmaking, point being Deena submitted our application and we were offered the position and happily accepted.
This was it the shift…moving us TEC to the other side of the world. Representing the US, In Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina, this teaching was huge, this opportunity is grand and we are and were extremely blessed to have been able to go and share our creativity with the youth and adults in both countries.
Time flows by quick and fast a few months go by and we are preparing to leave for our trip/orientation; we are invited to the Bureau of Educational and Cultures Affairs in Washington, DC, to meet the BECA., staff as well as the officers of the Next Level Program, and the other talented participants that were also contributing artist to the Next Level program. It was surreal to be in Washington with such an amazing group of Creative Artist!!!!! Back in April 2014, we return from Washington, amped with energy and big ideas. Ideas on running our dance workshops and taking time to tailor our Signature class Snap Pop n Rock! All with great love and pride.
It felt as if I blinked and we were prepping to leave for our first trip to Montenegro in September of 2014. The time has come and we are on the flight to Montenegro to meet up with the rest of our Next Level Team, or as we started to refer to ourselves The Elements Crew!!!!
We connected with the team and were on our way to Podgorica for a briefing on Tuesday September 9, 2014, to than set up for our very first workshop in Podgorica on the next day Wednesday September 10, 2104, morning we’re scheduled to work with the youths of the Roma, and non Roma community, in the elementary school of Bozidar Vukovic Podgoricanin, with partnering dance studio Niksic-based Matrix Dance Club and NGO Alternative culture. The students were open and so very excited to be involved with the program. Some of the students never danced, or even heard of “HIP HOP” prior to us being there to educate them on the culture/ history and most importantly the dance movement.
Our dance workshops begin and we are in the room with 30 to 40 students a translator and the Embassy State officials… the music is playing and all is good the language barriers are not even an issue they were following us and happy to express themselves thru dance. Some of the older participants showed to be promising B-Boys and B-Girls that represented with all the elements.
Our time with them was entirely way to short. On our last day with the students we put together a showcase combining all the elements and it was great fun! Shout Out to Podgorica-Montenegro, we most definitely needed and wanted to spend more time with you.
On to the next part of our trip we are embarking to Bosnia-Herzegovina, now this schedule was crazy from the workshops during the day with Juventa festival, evening workshops with local dance studios and crews, media: radio and television interviews it was insane. Working with SARTR theater and the dance crews of Next Level Academy in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sarajevo… which has an outstanding population of amazing artist who are constantly on the quest for knowledge, this was and still feels; unreal to me all the history with the dance is all through YouTube… we are the first educators to visit them and give the history of the culture in HIP HOP. The magic of HIP HOP traveled through YouTube… they copied all that they could dancing, mcing, djing, beatmaking, etc., now that is clearly some sort of power, creativity transcending through the internet.
Don’t sleep America they are super funky and are diligent with their movement. Their hunger shows how serious they are and work at a percentage of 80-95% of full throttle with their learning.
When working on drills with them, it was with an attitude of what else do you educators have for us. We made it a point to challenge them every step of the way. Whenever we asked them to do something it was done with respect a smile and they would complete the task than ask wonderful questions on a daily basis.
Deena and I spent time connecting with them in class giving them the formula of groove, rock, and that bounce that is very necessary when you dance!! After one of our very many sessions they came to us with sweaty faces needing water with the wow factor look in their faces, simply to ask is this really how you ladies live through your ART on a day to day basis in New York City. Our answer to them was yes! Still and all they devoured all the information we brought to them… we rocked with them the entire time of our stay in Sarajevo.
Not only was this a very humbling experience, it was an awakening on how fortunate we are to have been raised in the culture not taking any of it for granted. When connecting with their traditions and culture, it’s the same story in a different country or zip code. Focus on school and leave the arts alone! I applaud them all for following their passion and love for the arts!!!
This is a country still healing from the four year Siege of Sarajevo of 1992! I send the prayers of continued healing energy!! When we weren’t dancing we were vibing on the culture of HIP HOP and what is was like growing up in the South Bronx, such a hungry group it simply was a pleasure to work and share the knowledge and the love of this Beautiful Culture!
Peace and Blessing